Category Archives: Folk

Sean Rowe ‎- I’ll Follow Your Trail (2017)

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Where I Am Kloot draws inspiration from Dylan, Sean Rowe echoes the gruff baritone sound of Leonard Cohen. Off his 2017 album New Lore, ‘I’ll Follow Your Trail’ is personal song about the singer-songwriter watching his kids grow up in upstate New York. The decision to use horns in the instrumentation was magical. 

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Love – Always See Your Face (1969)

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Another song that has been used to great effect on screen is Love’s Always See Your Face. It closed the band’s (or more factually it was really Arthur Lee’s) 1969 album Four Sail; it later featured in the 2000 film High Fidelity alongside John Cusack, helping him with a bout of misery; and then took a bow on the sountrack of this year’s sublime Once Upon A Time In Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino.

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Loving – Visions (2019)

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Loving is the musical collaboration of David Parry and brothers Lucas and Jesse Henderson from Victoria, BC. They recently released a new single ‘Visions’. Lyricist Jesse Henderson explains, “the song dwells on a question: that if our lives, what we pursue, or even desire, are often shaped or determined by forces beyond us – what kinds of freedom can we find within that?”. Despite the currency of his existential questions, the sound is all warm pop of yesteryear.

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Andrew Bird – Manifest (2019)

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‘Manifest’ is the third single released off Andrew Bird’s most recent album My Finest Work Yet. He could be right.

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Big Thief – UFOF (2019)

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Good morning! Let’s kick off this week with something very contemporary. On the title track of Big Thief’s latest album U.F.O.F., Adrianne Lenker says goodbye to her UFO friend. “Polarize, polarize/The seasons will bend/There will soon be proof/That there is no alien/Just a system of truth and lies.” The sound is great and a supernatural imagination is on display. Have a great week.

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Vetiver – I Know No Pardon (2006)

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Some midweek midtempo sounds… Vetiver’s frontman Andy Cabic is a good friend of Devendra Banhart. Where Banhart’s neofolk channels Tropicália, Cabic’s work is very West Coast. ‘I Know No Pardon’ features on Vetiver’s sophomore album To Find Me Gone.

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Saint Etienne – Western Wind / Tankerville (1994)

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In February 1994, Saint Etienne released Tiger Bay, their third studio LP on Heavenly Records. Band member Bob Stanley referred to the album as “an album of modern folk songs done in twentieth century styles like techno and dub”. Quite amazingly, the powers that be decided to drop the ‘Western Wind’/ ‘Tankerville’ suite from the American edition on Warner Bros. While the delivery of ‘Western Wind’ maintains the essence of a traditional English folk song, the shift into trip hop of ‘Tankerville’ was incredibly current.

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Aldous Harding – Fixture Picture (2019)

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On the subject of ladies with style, I feature Ms Harding for the second time this year. ‘Fixture Picture’ is the opening track off her most recent album Designer. I like one youtuber’s comment that it sounds like Neil Young’s Harvest Moon and Beck’s Morning Phase had a baby girl. And what’s more, the hats and the curious dance moves are an added bonus.

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Tim Hardin – Black Sheep Boy (1967)

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Oregon-born James Timothy Hardin is probably best known for his hit single ‘If I Were a Carpenter’ that has been covered by the likes of Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Robert Plant, Small Faces and Bert Jansch. It featured on his sophomore album, Tim Hardin 2, for the short-lived Verve Forecast label. The album also contain a son that I admire even more… ‘Black Sheep Boy’ has been covered by Scott Walker and Okkervil River. The Black Sheep Boy died of of a heroin overdose in 1980.

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Van Morrison – Madame George (1968)

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The one and only Madame George playing dominoes in drag. Astral Weeks is generally considered one of the greatest albums in rock history, and despite not featuring on the LP’s fabled Side 1 (‘The Beginning’), ‘Madame George’ is at the album’s heart. This was Van Morrison at his most powerfully spiritual. Have a great weekend.

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The Books feat. José González – Cello Song (2008)

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I mentioned Nick Drake this week. Three years before they disbanded, the NYC duo The Breaks took their musical combination of folk and electronica to their love of the Warwickshire man’s music. They worked with José González to cover ‘Cello Song’, a song that originally featured on Drake’s debut album Five Leaves Left. Yesterday, Omar S’s appreciation of the piano bedazzled. Today it’s Paul De Jong’s cello. Have a great weekend.

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Aldous Harding – The Barrel (2019)

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New Zealand singer-songwriter Hannah Harding (aka Aldous Harding) had already drawn much praise for her gothic folk. Then, in 2017, she signed to 4AD and enlisted the help of John Parish of Sparklehorse and PJ Harvey fame. Her sophomore album Party was released in 2017 to critical acclaim. Now, things continue to move onwards and upwards… her new single ‘The Barrel’ is a forerunner to a new album ‘Designer’ due to be released in April 2019. This is a modern take on folk, but still in the tradition of Nick Drake.

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Beirut – Gallipoli (2018)

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Gallipoli will be the fifth studio album by indie folk band Beirut. It is expected to be released on 1 February 2019. The album is named after the Italian town where the title track was written. Welcome back Zach.

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The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin (2009)

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Next it’s the ethereal sound of The Low Anthem. ‘Charlie Darwin’ is the opening track off the the Rhode Islander’s 2009 album Oh My God, Charlie Darwin.

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Bill Callahan – Riding For The Feeling (2011)

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A year before Sharon Van Etten sang ‘We Are Alright’, Bill Callahan was creating his own heartfelt sounds. His confessional song ‘Riding For The Feeling’ features on his 2011 long player Apocalypse.

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